Kasaix: Hello Doujin Army! I’m here with yet another really talented artist, someone I’ve followed for quite some time. They have a way of using light and shadow to make the characters almost pop off the screen while maintaining the native style you see the characters in, and I love it.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Thanks for hanging out, QueenComplex. How’s it going?
QueenComplex: Doing pretty good. Right now, I’m squeezed between quite a lot of drawing work, but I have good faith that people will like what I’m cooking up, which greatly helps with motivation going through this workload. I’d say that I’m in a pretty good state of flow.
Kasaix: Let's start at the top then, how did you first get into art?
QueenComplex: Well, starting from the kind that isn’t porn... I guess I could say I started out like almost every artist in today’s modern world - in kinder-garden and/or in school’s art class.
I suppose my first meaningful growth started around primary school, by attending art class and doodling on notebook page edges. However, I might have pushed it harder than other kids, because very early on I started living with the notion that, if I don’t start getting competent in any ‘field’ that school was letting me get some sort of running start, I might be doomed to spend the rest of my life in some low pay, low skill job. I also really did not like school, so on the other side I also feared being trapped on a career path that would be anything similar to what schools were trying to condition us for. So I gravitated towards the art class, in large part because it was barely a class, it was kind of ‘fun’. I thought that if an artist’s life is anything like that, that would be the life to strive for, but even then, I was well aware of the starving artist stereotype and that mostly the most skilled get to live comfortably, so with that flame under my ass I really pushed myself in the field of arts early on.
Kasaix: Did you go to a university to take professional art classes, or are you all self taught?
QueenComplex: As much as I would like to fancy myself an autodidact, I have to give a lot of props to the high-school I went to. It wasn’t an average high school, it was in large part specialized for students who were aiming to enter Art Academy and other such institutions of higher learning. That place gifted me 2 very essential elements in my ‘art’.
First, they started all students from the very basics, which means that before painting anything like a human figure, I spent years grinding still life paintings. That is where, I believe, I got that “light and shadow” you and others, I often hear, seem to like very much.
Second, since they were preparing me for the academy, it internalized in me a pretty high bar for what constitutes a proper artist. I’m not sure to say if I have reached that bar.
However, after finishing high school, they still left me without proper experience in human figure illustration, at least in painting. Therefore, I tried getting into the Academy, but I failed to pass the entrance exams. I actually failed 2 years in a row, until I got in on the third attempt. Those 2 years were the period when I started really learning on my own. Yes, that was when I started being “QueenComplex”, because I’m not sure there is any better way of learning the human figure (and start earning money from ones work) than drawing porn.
After 2 years, it did work out for me. I actually got better from drawing porn. (Ok, I also took some payed classes for a small period) Don’t want to come off sounding too arrogant, but I got really good, so good that I was able to spend the least amount of effort and still be one of the top students in class. I got to dab on the rest of them as I left class early every week. (of course, I didn’t actually dab). That left me at least some free time to continue drawing as QueenComplex, but the amount of work for that period is noticeably less.
So far, in the Academy I’ve spent just one year. Because as much of an ego trip it was, for that same reason, a lot of it was time not well spent. I wish I could be more selective about the classes I could attend, but (if it’s not the same in US) in my country you have to take the full program, or the state is wasting valuable student slots.
Kasaix: What are your favorite characters and themes to draw?
QueenComplex: I guess I could start from saying I’m much more attracted to characters and themes from western media (video games and animation), rather than anime. In large part, it is because that is what I mainly grew up with.
Recently I’ve been having a good time drawing female characters from DC animated universe. Their designs are simple. It could be argued that without their unique costumes, the heroines would all look the same, but even so that Bruce Timn template hits a bulls-eye for me.
I’ve done quite a lot of Raven from 2003’s Teen Titans. Goth girls in general are pretty high on my list, but as many would agree, Raven might be the top one.
The Last Airbender is a series I like to return to form time to time. Quite the peak for western TV animation and top tier waifus.
Speaking purely about aesthetics. A very small thing that I consistently really like in female character designs is lipstick – subtle but very contrasting from the skin. That is why I probably like DCAU female designs so much. It might be what makes the goth-girl aesthetic work for me. That is also why Azula might be my fave ATLA girl. It also might be why I’m not so attracted to anime, because they usually go for a younger cuter aesthetic.
Finally, if we’re talking about abstract themes, I guess I could say that I’m not much of a fan of future/sci-fy aesthetics. The slickness that usually comes with most visions of future often just feels too sterilized for me. I much more gravitate to themes that range from present to past (including fantasy).
Kasaix: What do you feel is your best picture yet, and why?
QueenComplex: That is more difficult to answer than I’d like to. I could say that the closer to present the more I like them, because I do believe I’m overall getting better over time.
It’s hard to like my own work when I often spend 4-5 days on a piece. It’s like trying to like a song after hearing it for the 100th time. I really think this is the case of it being more about the journey then destination for me, because by the end of it I’m tired and start feeling a bit dysmorphic from trying to improve it all the time.
Kasaix: Where do you get your inspiration for all your projects from?
QueenComplex: Mostly from 2 sources. First being from discord chat discussions and suggestions from my site members. I guess since they have gone so far as to support me our tastes are usually compatible. Often when I finish a new drawing, they suggest a new idea in reference to the latest drawing, like “if you made this character work so well, it would be really cool if you did this character too”. I usually inquire further and after a discussion, it usually leaves a seed for a future idea.
Second source would be from, browsing certain image boards where people post fan art, often very pinup-y. I think from repeated indirect exposure to them, they subliminally form my own ideas.
Kasaix: How do you first tackle a project, and how long does a project typically take to finish?
QueenComplex: My main approach for the fully “realistically” shaded drawings goes like this – First, I draw a rough rendering of the character I’m ‘parodying’ as close to their original design, but still in a way that would look good in ‘my shading’. Second, I start shading the drawing with blunt brush strokes, which leads the drawing looking very rough and messy. Then the longest half of the process is trying to turn that ‘rough mess’ into something orderly and appealing to the eye. It essentially entails me trying to ‘fix’ the drawing by ‘levels’ – once I’ve ‘fixed’ everything from a far, I get closer and ‘fix’ the details on a closer ‘level’. The process might as well go forever (or at least as far as pixel resolution would allow me), but I stop at a point where I feel that most viewers will be pleased and I should better get to the next drawing. Those usually take about 3-5 days
The cel-shaded “Quickies” (as I call them), that I post mainly on Newgrounds.com are a bit of a different ball game. That process where I go from a mess to order only applies to the penciling part. The second half for it just calls for a steady hand while I ink it and then color it.
They usually take 1-3 days.
Kasaix: What sort of setup do you use for your projects? A special tablet, pen, etc?
QueenComplex: When it comes to software. Manly just Photoshop. I’ve very recently started using the demo version for Design Doll for checking if the geometry of the poses would work in 3d space and sometimes for coming up with new poses by messing around with it.
The hardware – I use a screen tablet. Can’t imagine using a non-screen one after learning most of what I know from old school painting and pencil drawing. The model I use is Ugee 1910b. Supposedly, it’s on the cheaper end, but beggars can’t be choosers and as it is my first one I don’t have that much perspective to complain.
The pens break often though, but the one I’m currently using is on the longest streak of not breaking. Maybe they started making them out of something more durable or maybe I’ve gotten more chill with my pen pressure.
Kasaix: Do you have a project you really want to work on down the line? A comic series, or perhaps dabbling with animation?
QueenComplex: Yes and yes. Currently I’m making my first comic. It’s an ATLA ‘fan parody’ mainly focusing on Azula and Zuko. However, as the first one, it is in large part practice, because I do have ambitions of making some quality original porn comic arcs, but first I need to try some smaller comics, each with more complexity.
Animation too. I do want to be able to make a drawing come to life, at least, in a few second intervals. So far I have very little experience with that, but when I finish the first comic, I’m thinking of trying out several humping or blowing animation loops as a first trial.
Kasaix: Let’s wrap it up here for now. Do you have any final words to all your fans?
QueenComplex: Yes! I thank everyone who follows me, and shares, supports and comments where ever I post my work. I might not respond to every comment, but I read almost all of them. Every compliment improves my day, and if the site allows I always click ‘like’ on them.
A VERY Special Thanks goes to everyone who supports me financially on my site (and still on patreon)! You are the people who justify the struggle that has been there since my childhood.
I'd like to give another huge thanks to QueenComplex for hanging out. If you’d like to follow their work, and you definitely do, check out the sites below: